Classic Santa

Remember those good ol' days when you'd be laying in bed and your heart would be leaping out of your chest in anticipation for the snide bearded creepster clown to break into your home covered in mud and ash only to eat your precious cookies, drink your tepid milk, and leave an assortment of unnervingly accurate gifts?

Yeah....Good times.

I loved being smothered with toy motor cycles, video games, giant stuffed animals, useless gadgets, and a year's supply of chocolate. Literally. A year's supply (chocolate oranges, symphony bars, chocolate mints, m&m's, wonkas, reeses, hersheys, dark chocolate almond butter, toblerones, and about 500 of our famous russian teacakes left over). Score.

One of my family's best traditions is Russian Teacake Day.
 We spend an entire day making over 1,500
of these delectable cookies to
 deliver to every family in our ward.
And we always have plenty left over.

But now things have changed. I don't need 10 different expansion packs for the Sims or Roller Coaster Tycoon anymore. Now I get misty eyed when I open an envelope with a couple gift cards and a check for tuition.
BTW- Santa basically just saved my life with that check. And my sanity. 
It's strange when your saved sanity is your christmas present.
But I like it.

And I still get my year's supply of chocolate. Plus a couple movies, essential toiletry items, a beatles guitar songbook, and more RAM to speed up my computer. See, my parents still love me :)

I hope your Christmas was as relieving and special as mine.
Happy Holidays!


Oh heyy..

Did I forget to mention that I got into BYU's Illustration Program?
Well, I got into BYU's Illustration Program.

So, my letter was ready last Thursday. They emailed me in the morning to come pick it up. Problem was, I had 2 finals left to take. I knew that I could not handle any terrible gut wrenching news right before I failed another couple of tests so I waited until Friday to get it. That way Andy could be with me in case I melted into a puddle of dread-filled sobs.

When I opened it, I was of course shaking. It's not like a mission call where it's going to be great news no matter what, because even if you get called to Ogden, Utah it's still a happy day. There is failure involved. We secluded ourselves inconspicuously in the HFAC parking lot in order to hide my anxiety from the public. It took like 5 minutes and a lot of coaxing from Andy for me to finally open the letter. When I did I immediately saw the words Congratulations and Illustration so I screamed in surprise and threw the letter into Andy's lap and made him read it himself because I'd started crying. I got in. I belong somewhere now. I have skills! It's a fantastic feeling. I feel like I'm now making progress in what I want to be doing.

Congratulations to me.


Desperate Inspiration

We're halfway through finals week and I feel like my head has exploded. Kind of like this:

(Zach Johnsen)

So, during my desperate search of some much needed inspiration and motivation and illegal-high-quality-pain killers (Psyche. I'm no druggy. But amazon has a surprisingly low amount of on-sale meds...), I came across this coolio stop-motion clip and it was perfect because this is EXACTLY what I feel like doing to all of my homework/studyguides/reviewsheets/crap.

Yep. Gifs and stop-motion. My 2 latest obsessions.

It took the Animator, Steven Briand, over 2 months to make it. 
That's a long time. 
I'm surprised he didn't gain weight. That would have sucked for the clip. You'll see why.
Anywhoo, get a load of this:



The best way to spread Christmas cheer...

In case you're also sick of reruns of that one Pachabel children's chorus thing on the radio (on this day, on this day, on this freaking christmas dayyyyy) and Bieb's version of "Drummer Boy" (oh my crap you have to listen to that. It's cringe worthy, but oddly fascinating), here is my somewhat-indie Christmas playlist that I burned to listen to in my car. Feel free to enjoy it for the last 13 days before Christmas:
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is
singing loud for all to hear

The Christmas Waltz, by She & Him
Mistletoe, by Colbie Caillat
I Saw Three Ships, by Sufjan Stevens
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, by Jack Johnson
Christmastime is Here, by A Fine Frenzy
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), by Death Cab for Cutie
Happy Christmas, by Maroon 5
Silent Night/Away in a Manger, by Relient K
Winter Wonderland, by Jason Mraz
A Great Big Sled, by The Killers
Christmas Lights, by Coldplay
Carol of the Bells, by The Bird and the Bee
Little Drummer Boy, by Family Force 5
Blue Christmas, by Bright Eyes
Winter Song, by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
Auld Lang Syne, by Pink Martini

Also good:
Relient K's entire christmas album. It still is, and will forever be, my favorite.

Christmas albums by Straight No Chaser & Eclipse. I'm a sucker for male a capella choirs when they're bursting with christmas spirit. Oh the testosterone...

She & Him, Michael Bublé, The Osmonds. All classy and classic.

And you can't go through an entire winter season without some of Adam Sandler's Hannuka:

Happy Holidays! 
(Including December 13. National Ice Cream Day. I know I'm celebrating.)


Random Thoughts That Give Me Pause:

My hot french teacher that looks and dresses like Jude Law only likes bratwurst. He would turn down a hotdog. A HOT DOG. How arrogant. I wish I was that cool. 

I happen to enjoy the random maniacal laughs that make people grimace as they walk past. There tend to be a lot of those at BYU.

Photos like this.
I made a friend on the last day of class. I think her name is Michelle. She is also dating someone from BYU Idaho. I could have used her for her relationship advice all semester. We could have carpooled. What a waste. 

I almost sat in on the wrong class today. Yep, on the last day. My problem is that I'm one of those back-row students whose faces are 2 inches away from either their sketchbook -not their notebook- or pinterest. In essence, I don't recognize anybody in some of my classes. However, halfway through the semester I picked out an unfortunately acne-scared sad faced Latino girl in my World Religions class that I would be able to consistently recognize. That way I would know that I was sitting in the right classroom. But today she was gone. I thought I was in the wrong place until my teacher walked in. Maybe I should re-evaluate how aloof I keep myself at school.

At lunch my grandma called me homeless because of my frayed holey TOMS. Success! I'm hipster enough that I look homeless! That's the goal here, right? 

The apparent ban on skinny jeans at BYU Idaho was only apparent. Thank goodness. I would have had to entirely revise my wardrobe. However, I'm super judgmental of those judgmental folk who created that sign at the testing center. "If a student prays and they think that the tight, 'form-fitting' clothing is accepted by the Lord, they have not asked, or have not asked the right question, or they have chosen an answer for their own gratification. I don't believe the Lord would give approval to anyone to be disobedient to the CES Dress and Grooming Standards." -John Dexter, testing center manager. Also, biggest self-righteous dweeb I've ever had the privilege of not meeting. Can you imagine if this was actually the attitude of our church-run school system? I'm glad he does not manage my wardrobe. I'd be wearing Hammer pants and a trench coat in order to properly conceal my form. I am disgruntled. 

The 2 hardest jobs on BYU campus have got to be an interpreter for deaf students, and figure drawing class model. Both of them are being intensely watched by every person in every class, whether they like it or not. It's got to be exhausting. 

I got 23/25 points on an essay that was written more by Wikipedia than it was by me. Way to go random people of the world who know a lot about Byzantine architecure.

In my research of random movies I came across American Psycho. I watched a couple youtube videos and read the summary online. Absolutely and officially tremendously freaked me out. It's worse than the previews for Silence of the Lambs. I'm such a pansy. I need a good dose of Newsies in order to get that slithery Christian Bale out of my brain. 

And a happy gif from Modern Family to end the day because I'm obsessed (with both gifs and Modern Family):

Stay classy, Planet Earth. 


Theme Song of 2011

It's a pretty cool moment when you find your theme song.

You kinda freeze and stare blankly into space with an awkward half open grin on your face for a full 4 minutes and 2 seconds until the song is over.

Then you close your eyes and slowly shake your head

because you're pondering the incredibly deep life-changing lyrics that perfectly describe the past 12 months of your life.

So you press replay

and when it's over for the second time

You suddenly spring up and plunge into cartwheel,
And you do the Carlton dance.

Just kidding.
That last part didn't happen.
I can't cartwheel.

But I did find my theme song for 2011.

Losers, by The Belle Brigade

Yeah it's called Losers. Don't judge. And no, it's not Christmassy. Yeah, sometimes I don't listen to Christmas music at Christmastime. Go ahead. Call me a sinner.



What would your drawing look like if it were painted realistically?

Just kidding.
I'm sure you're an incredibly apt artist.
Not judging.

Just saying that this guy could take your crappy school girl drawing and turn it into a rockin realistic monsterpiece.
Dit bonjour √† Dave Devries. 
Basically he takes kid's drawings, and paints them creepy and realistic. His project is called the "Monster Engine". Somehow he makes them all dark and timburtonesque (Yeah. He's a word now. Look it up), and this is where it started: 

"It began at the Jersey Shore in 1998, where my niece Jessica often filled my sketchbook with doodles. While I stared at them, I wondered if color, texture and shading could be applied for a 3D effect. As a painter, I made cartoons look three dimensional every day for the likes of Marvel and DC comics, so why couldn’t I apply those same techniques to a kid’s drawing? That was it… no research, no years of toil, just the curiosity of seeing Jessica’s drawings come to life."

This is one of those projects where I go, "SERIOUSLY? Why the freak didn't I think of this first. Like really. It should have been in my brains."

I hate that feeling. 

But I still kinda want to go grab a crayon and attempt a rhinoceros with my left hand and my eyes closed, just to see what he could make of it. 

Dave Devries also works for Marvel and DC comics, you know, just painting creepsters and super heroes like it's nobody's business. Pro.

Here are some more of my favorites from his "Monster Engine" project:

There. Go be jealous of this awesome idea. 



Guess what.

I did it.

I applied to the Illustration program. I even pressed the "submit" button all by myself.

And yeah, I know that applying right now is basically a pride thing. I'm most definitely going to be transferring up to BYUI next fall, and I'll have to basically start all over... but you know what! I've wanted this for a long time and I stressed and cried about it anyway.

So now it's done and I feel triumphant.

Swedish Cottage: Watercolor on stonehenge

Minnie Mouse: Acrylic on canvas panel
Even Bears Need Bear Hugs: Acrylic on canvas panel

Street Magician: Maya 2011

Jimmer Collage: Acrylic paint, charcoal, newspaper, photocopies

Gestures: Conte crayon and pastel

Face Study: conte crayon
Face Study: conte crayon

Self Portrait: pencil

Bon Iver: micron pen and watercolor

Required Creative Exercise. Basically they give you a bunch of random squiggly lines and you have to make something out of it. This is what I did with white-out, colored pencils, and micron pen

I've left out all of the drawings I put in my sketchbook, but if you really care about those you can ask about them later and I'll show them to you.

Tell meh whatcha thunk.


Mirror, Mirror...

In October I posted about a quirky Snow White movie with Julia Roberts that was coming out in 2012.

Whelp. Here's the preview! (Insert excitement here)

And you know what, I don't care that there's another Snow White movie coming out with the oh so grand Kristen Stewart. "Snow White and the Huntsman?" Really? No competition.

This is Tarsem. This is GORGEOUS. This looks like it might be somewhere near as awesome as The Fall.

Speaking of The Fall, I think I'll be inserting some Pushing Daisies into my DVD player this week. My favorite thing to do when I'm stressed is watch Lee Pace and eat some pie. And I am beyond stressed. I have an Illustration portfolio, a test, 2 papers, and a semester-long New Testament project due this week, PLUS I'm stuck home with strep throat. PLUS I'm absolutely broke and I don't even want to think of how I'm going to pay for school next semester, let alone how I'm going to be buying my favorite people Christmas presents.

So rather than stay frazzled and productive, for the moment I'm going to relive some happy summer memories through Ned, the Piemaker. Join me:


Cardigan Love

When I'm a millionaire- and believe me, that time is just around the corner- I will buy every single article of clothing on this website: www.cardigannewyork.com

Fer seriousness.

I FINALLY broke down and bought me some boots. And they's hot yo. They's super hot.

I saw Anchorman for the first time yesterday. How did I live this long and not see this MOVIE?!?

My songs of the week:
The World at Large, by Modest Mouse
Black Night, by the Dodos
When U Love Somebody, by the Fruit Bats
Vagabond, by Beirut

Stay classy, Planet Earth.


Vintage Posters Anyone? Fav #33, Andrew Holder

Here is my ideal career:

Graduate with a BFA in Illustration, get hired right out of school for a couple of illustration jobs,
 then live, work and prosper in LA.

I have just described to you the life of Andrew Holder.

This guy is a genius with design. Everything seems to fit together like a puzzle. Combine that skill with amazing color and vintage paper, you've got something fantabulous going on.

I'm asking myself how the crap he even comes up with these ideas:
"Everything starts out as multiple thumbnail sketches of an idea.  The idea either being my own or from a client.  After settling on a basic design it becomes almost like a puzzle.  I spend the majority of the time at this stage, working out scale, texture, balance etc.  I pretty much know what a piece is going to look like before I even put any paint or ink down."
Oh okay. Sounds simple enough. 

Andrew Holder has done work for Urban Outfitters, Roxy, Sub Pop Records, American Express, National Geographic, NPR, Wired magazine, etc...
So basically he's pretty cool. 

Here are some of my favorites from his site. Enjoy:
"Deer Deer"
Acrylic and ink on vintage paper
"Mountain Town"
Screen print on hand painted paper
Screen print on hand painted paper
"Quarantined Ship"
Mixed media on vintage paper
"Predator and Prey"
mixed media on paper


Love, Stupid, Crazy....grrrr

Once upon a time it was a cool, rainy Tuesday morning and Rachel was on time for work. 
Then she felt like tearing out her hair, cracking her computer over her knee, throwing a frying pan at someone's face, and eating an entire jar of nutella, all at the same time.

Yeah...Yesterday was just one of those days.

But rather than bore you with the gory details of my daily frustrations, I will just attempt to advertise my immense excitement for my plans tonight:

I'm going to grab a snuggie, some cinnamon toast & hot chocolate, curl up on my couch, and fall asleep watching Crazy Stupid Love.

How absolutely fantastic does that sound?
(I was going to do this last night, you know, because yesterday was my rotten day, but at 2am I decided the smarter decision would be to delay my pity party for tomorrow.)

So if this hasn't been emphasized enough, Crazy Stupid Love is probably one of my favorite mood-lifting-happy-making-laugh-your-guts-out-pee-your-pants-funny movies I've seen in a long time.
At least it was when I saw it a month ago in theaters. I expect the same reaction tonight.

One quick happy thought:

Andy showed me this song the other day, and told me to listen to the words.
Seriously, Andy? Can you freaking get any cuter?
Honestly, I'm so lucky to have such an awesome guy in my life, even if he is hundreds of miles away.
Somedays it's really hard. Like yesterday.
But it's most definitely worth it.

There. That's the end of my complaining.
Go have an awesome day.
The End.


Batman Tortilla Chip?

officially licensed Batman tortilla chip used to promote the 1989 movie

As far as mass-produced junk food goes, this is pretty great.


Like my iPod's stuck on replay, replay...

Sometimes I get driven crazy by a song
because it is just so freaking fantastic.
It gets stuck in my head for days and days
and all I want to do is to listen to it
over and over again.
So I do. Because I can.
Because I'm rotting in the basement of a library for 20 hours a week
with nothing to do but to let songs fester in my head.
It's fantastic.

Here is the song that have been driving me absolutely crazy this week:

Bury the Floor, by Scattered Trees
(thanks Zac, for introducing me. These guys are boss.)
I would recommend listening here on grooveshark, or finding it on lastfm or spotify.
Wishing so bad they were more popular because they don't have this song on youtube yet.

So if you're too lazy to go searching for that song, just click play on the handy little youtube video I embedded below.
This song is almost as good
And music video is awesome.
Introducing: Love and Leave, by Scattered Trees

Other songs that are basically on my repeat for hours and hours:
Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves), by The Wombats
Once, by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Moth's Wings, by Passion Pit
All of This, by the Naked and Famous

If you've got a song and you're like,

 "dude. O_o"

then hit a sista up. I'm in love with "The Naked and Famous" and "Young the Giant" off of suggestions from other peeps, so... yeah. Talk to me.


Napoleon's gonna be on TV... gosh!

You think I'm kidding.

But I'm totally not.

Napoleon Dynamite is coming to Fox in 2012. 13 episodes.

The animated show will be directed by the film's director Jared Hess, and written by the Simpson's writer Mike Scully.

And the entire cast will come back to play their same roles.
Seriously, all of them.
Jon Heder by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Jon Heder
Aaron Ruell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Aaron Ruell
Efren Ramirez by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Efren Ramirez
Tina Majorino by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Tina Majorino
Jon Gries by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Jon Gries
Uncle Rico

Plus they're adding some new characters to be played by Amy Poehler (SNL), Sam Rockwell (Um.. everything),  Jennifer Coolidge (Bend and Snap from Legally Blonde) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords).

I'm adding this to my list of 7 other absolutely-watch-or-die tv shows.

Giggety giggety giggety.


Quirky Snow White Movie... with Julia Roberts

Oh you heard me right.

Julia Roberts is starring in a Tarsem production of Snow White, along with Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings), Lily Collins, and Nathan Lane.

I emphasize Tarsem because he previously directed the most INCREDIBLE movie of all time, "The Fall".

His quirky but gorgeous style reminds me so much of Tim Burton, who could easily be classified as one of my greatest heros.

So, there is absolute definite tearful excitement for this movie coming out in 2012.

PLUS it's going to be rivaling another Snow White film coming out in the same year. Starring Kristen Stewart (guffaw...). I can't wait to see this beauty slash that one to the ground.

In order to get a glimpse of what you're in for, here is the preview for the movie "The Fall" that came out in 2006 (starring the delicious Lee Pace).



What the crap is Concept Art?

So a lot of people ask me what I plan to do with Illustration.
I say, "I want to be a concept artist for films."
Usually, the response I get is either a confused smile and nod, or they say,
"What the crap is that?"

So my friends, welcome to my world.

Here is an awesome but random selection of concept art from some recent films.
Try to guess what movie they're from.
(Answers are at the bottom.)

top: tangled
monsters inc
lord of the rings
king's speech
howl's moving castle
alice and wonderland


Do it the same, but BOP BETTER.

I've got to pick it up.

Usually at the end of summer, I'm beautifully bronzed from chilling at 7peaks, stick thin from going running every day, and I'm refreshed and ready for school to start.
Not this year.
Oh, no. I'm winter white, getting pudgier, I've lost any spark of discipline I ever had, and I still feel spurts of stress from my last semester until I realized that, hah! oh wait I don't have homework.

School starts again in 8 days. I still have to schedule work hours, but before that my class schedule has to be set in stone, and before that I have to attempt to sneak into an Illustration class that I'm not qualified for. On top of that I don't quite have enough money for tuition, which is due tomorrow, or books, which are going to cost me a butt load this year. I'm finally applying to the Illustration program in November, and I have try harder to get better grades in order to get a half scholarship. On top of THAT, Andy's going up to Idaho (who-da-ho?) we get to attempt a long distance thing. Awesome.

I lost any chance of starting out this semester stress-free.

My saving grace is that I don't have to worry about any of this for a whole week because my family is packing up in a 12-seater van and hightailing it to Disneyland. Corn dogs, funnel cake, Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, and my amazing fam should all add up to be a big enough distraction, right?

So. Cheers to a new chapter in my life and a new semester of college. May the force be with me.


Snape, Snape, Severus Snape.

I'm absolutely a Potter nerd.
And here's why:
I've faithfully read the series since I was 9 years old.
In fourth grade, my mom excused me and my siblings from school in order to see the first Harry Potter movie.
My 10th birthday was Harry Potter themed.
I was one of those geeks who went to the bookstore at 10:00p in order to wait until midnight for the next book to come out, so that I could stay up until 3:00a reading it.
I had a Griffindor bracelet I wore every day in junior high.
In all honesty, I think I've read every book in the series over 15 times.
I've gone to the midnight showings of the past 4 Harry Potter movies.
So although I never dressed up as Lavender Brown for the premieres, or wore round glasses to school, or carved out a lightning bolt on my forehead with a stick to show my devotion, Harry Potter was a major part of my childhood and it's terrible to see it end.
So let's revisit some happy memories, shall we?

The end.


WHALES, Yellow Ostriches, Red Iguanas, Fleeting Foxes, Imaginary Dragons, more Whales, and a Rip Tide.


So there are some things in my life that consistently make me very happy. I was very happy this week.
For these things:

WHALES & Ostriches
I found this song. It will never leave my brain. It's going to be bouncing around in my skull until I die. But it's phenomenal and I'm glad I found him again.
Yellow Ostrich was the pre-show to Beirut when I saw them in Brooklyn, and they were a really great surprise. This song was their best by far:

Red Iguanas
Since we have had so many relatives in town, I have been treated to eat out so many times I can't keep track.
And I love free food. I think it tastes better than food that I paid for.
I went to Spicy Thai, not once, but twice. For free. Paid for by someone else. I went Red Iguana tonight. 2 of my favorite restaurants, and I have leftovers from both in my fridge right now.
These plus 4 BBQ's within 48 hours just made my week fantastic.

Imagine Dragons & Freelance Whales
2 of the many bands I have discovered within the last couple of weeks.
And those 2 weren't even my favorite, they just had animals in their band names so I used them in my title sequence (smirk).

Some of my favorite songs right now:
"My Love", by The Bird and the Bee
-she's like a mix of Ingrid Michaelson and Florence + the Machine-

"Kilojoules", by Freelance Whales
-the main singer's brother is in Glee. One of the gay guys. Oh yeahhh. Go wild-

"It's Time", Imagine Dragons
-didn't realize how great these guys were until I saw them live a couple weeks ago-

"The Cave", by Mumford & Sons
-an older one, but I love them Sons of Mumford. I could listen to them all day long-

"My Body", Young the Giant
-good for when I'm in a Chelsea Dagger sort of mood-

"1901", by Phoenix
-starting to like Phoenix. i didn't like them at first, except this song-

"White Winter Hymnal", by Fleet Foxes
-courtesy of my cousin Zac. These guys remind me so much of Local Natives, I love them-

"Zebra", by Beach House
-I'm determined to learn how to play this on the guitar-

"Excuses", by the Morning Benders
-another intro by Zac. That's a tune that will never get out of my head. Ever. I've been having real trouble with that lately-

Rip Tide
Another album!!
And holy crap I've never heard anything so fantastic in my life. Every single song gave me the chills. Every one.
And yeah, so what if this album doesn't come out for another 2 months. It's not my fault someone leaked it all over the internet ;)
I'll let you experience him live, because he's just so yummy:

And yes. I realize that basically this whole post is about music. But you need to realize that I'm stuck in the basement of a library for 8 hours a day with a pair of headphones. There's not much else that goes on in my life. Although I have gotten through 3 audio books of Harry Potter, and that's quite an accomplishment.

Oh yes, and it was the 4th of July. Happy birthday America!
We decorated our door with stars.
See if you can find Patrick Star and Ringo Starr.